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Friday Night Lights Returns To The Miami Valley

Chris Welter
The Kettering Fairmont band performs at their first football game of the year on Friday, August 28

Football Friday nights returned to the Miami Valley this past weekend.

Before entering the stadium to see Kettering Fairmont High School's Firebirds against the Centerville Elks, every visitor had to complete a virtual health assessment, and provide information to help with contact-tracing later: Name, phone number, school district. Have you visited a state on the travel advisory list? Are you experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms?

Inside, small groups sat spaced out in the stands. Kettering’s Roush stadium was limited to just 15% capacity, so instead of the rowdy student sections it was mostly just parents. But fans from both sides tried to make up for it with cowbells and by stomping their feet on the aluminum bleachers.

The band was still there, playing a scaled down show. They played the fight song marching in place, six feet apart.

And the cheerleaders still cheered, but there were no stunts or pyramids.

And the football? That was business as usual. Visiting Centerville’s experienced passing attack started off clumsily, and Fairmont jumped out to an early lead. But in the end, Centerville came back for the win, 21-20.

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.